What to do with 1,200 Sharp GP2A25J0000F Sensors and Cables? Put your ideas here please!

Hey all,

This forum has lots of ideas and I need some help, please. We've got a lot of excess inventory at Parallax - it accumulates every time we obsolete a product.

Situation

We have about 1,200 Sharp short-range reflective photointerrupters (GP2A25J0000F) and 3-pin cables that accompany. These were used as our ActivityBot encoders before we got the Feedback 360 servo. I'd like to put these in a bag as sets of four, maybe with 10K (or 20K) resistors, the cables, maybe some jumpers and try to liquidate them. Probably have about $5-6K worth of parts.

A quick grab of data from Karlson Robotics:

Description: GP2A25J0000F Series are OPIC output, reflective photointerrupters with emitter and detector facing the same direction in a molding that provides non-contact sensing. This family of devices uses light modulation to reduce the affects of disturbing light, and the sensor is optimized to work in the selected focal distance. A 3-pin connector is included to allow remote-mount or off-board designs.

Features

Reflective with OPIC Light Modulated Output
Highlights :
Includes additional screw fi xing holes
Position pin to prevent mis-alignment
Short focal distance
Key Parameters:
Detecting distance : 1 to 9mm (White paper) 3 to 7mm (Black paper)
Undetecting distance : over 27mm (White paper)

What kind of super simple project could be done?

If we had a four-pack of these available for sale on-line for $10, what kind of very simple project could be made with them? I could imagine them being lined up for a 4-bit piano if there was a speaker, or used as an edge detector for a robot. . .or even just provide a sample piece of code. If we sell them, it would be nice to show people what to do with them, but it's also not necessary.

Are there any simple applications that you might have in mind, even if we just offered an "idea list"?

Apologies for the cruddy pics - quickly snapped by a co-worker!

Thanks,

Ken Gracey
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Comments

  • I'll get the ball rolling.... Earrings ?
  • VonSzarvas wrote: »
    I'll get the ball rolling.... Earrings ?

    LOL, a valid use for a wide variety of components and small boards.

    That looks and sounds like a smaller version of a board I designed for monitoring the mechanical pumps in high vacuum systems years ago. It then became my general purpose board for monitoring fans, pumps, and other actuators on critical systems. Your part could do the same.
  • How about sold as DYI Line Follower parts, as QTI Line Follower.
  • This is good; keep the ideas coming. Thanks @VonSzarvas for kicking it off.

    If nothing else, I'll have a list of possible applications for this bag-o-parts!

    Ken Gracey
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,619
    edited 2020-01-30 - 17:16:11
    I agree with Jim, line following is a natural. TTYTT I have always found BoeBot's line following on the slow side. I am sure that it could be improved (smoother & faster, 2X easily) with some simple geometry changes, this is a golden opportunity to make that happen.

    I have been amazed how popular the cheap $5 line followers are in my Maker Faire demos. The Edison robot goes so far as to call line following the "Holy Grail" of robotics. :)

    https://meetedison.com/robot-activities/youre-a-controller/line-tracking-robot/

    Edit: That same page (Edison robot) shows that it can be "programmed" by reading a barcode. It's just a pattern of course stripes, not a real barcode. But that's a neat trick that a BoeBot could do. For educational demos, a master program might have ten subroutines... line following, photocell light response/tracking, sound sensitivity, etc. Then use one of these sensors to read a "barcode" pattern and branch to one of these subroutine behaviors.
  • Put the ‘barcode’ on a disk, then spin the disk with a car servo! Or get a linear motion kit put together and make an (x, y) memory reader!
  • erco wrote:
    That same page (Edison robot) shows that it can be "programmed" by reading a barcode. It's just a pattern of course stripes, not a real barcode. But that's a neat trick that a BoeBot could do.
    The Scribbler, S2, and S3 do that. The BASIC Stamp and Spin codes that they produce could be used as a starting point for BoeBot and ActivityBot programs. Here's a discussion and possible app for an S2 "barcode" sensor:

    https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/150349/scribbler-2-barcode-sensor

    Just remember that these are not standard barcodes but are optimized for reading by a moving robot.

    -Phil
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 22,565
    edited 2020-01-30 - 20:18:46
    How about an optical music box? Put eight or more of these in a row over a rotating disk (driven by a Servo 360). When one or more of them sees a black mark, the micro will play the corresponding note(s) until the black mark disappears. A separate sensor could be used to signal the beginning/end of a song, so it doesn't play continuously.

    With just eight sensors, the remaining five semitones in an octave could be played by detecting simultaneous adjacent notes. Also, the range can be extended to multiple octaves by encoding the selected octave in separate tracks.

    Addendum: A template could be designed as a PDF file, with inscriptions in very light lines and font, to show the locations and notes that a person could color in with a black pen or Sharpie. That way no special programming is needed to produce a disk for each selected song.

    Furthermore, the micro need not play songs through a speaker, but could do it through a servo-operated xylophone, for example:

    https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/162529/robotic-xylophone/p1

    -Phil
  • How about an optical music box? Put eight or more of these in a row over a rotating disk (driven by a Servo 360). When one or more of them sees a black mark, the micro will play the corresponding note(s) until the black mark disappears. A separate sensor could be used to signal the beginning/end of a song, so it doesn't play continuously.

    With just eight sensors, the remaining five semitones in an octave could be played by detecting simultaneous adjacent notes. Also, the range can be extended to multiple octaves by encoding the selected octave in separate tracks.

    -Phil
    That's a cool idea!

  • Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 6,606
    edited 2020-01-30 - 20:32:33
    Okay, I built a BOM from the parts we have in our inventory.

    (4) 350-00038 Sharp GP2A25J0000F Sensor
    (4) 805-28107 Cable for ActivityBot Encoder
    (4) 150-02210 220 ohm ¼ resistor
    (4) 150-01030 10K ohm ¼ resistor
    (4) 451-00303
    (2) packs jumper wires

    $29 of parts we will sell for $15 each. 250 kits to be available.

    Here's a look at what we're dealing with:



    I can use all of your ideas. If any of you are highly motivated by this little project and want to make something to share (Phil's Music Box) or similar, drop me an e-mail and I'll send you a bag of parts kgracey@parallax.com

    Now to sell these Arduino R3s down. Now on SALE for $18 each! ($4 less than others, and we'll ship them for free!)

    Ken Gracey
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 13,721
    edited 2020-01-30 - 21:57:19
    $15 sounds like a bargain. Only two needed to make Phil's music box. I suppose one of my Parallax continuous rotation servers could feed the paper. Let us know when you have these available for sale.
  • You could use these in a lot of ways. Maybe as an end stop detection or specific position locator for a linear actuator (I believe it was @doggiedoc a while back that probably could have put these to use on the chicken coop door for open and closed detection.) That would take care of two. If using four, one could create a graycode reader for sensing absolute position to maybe a 1cm per change in position, print the graycode on paper or plastic film depending on the environment. Add one of these to each tube on the Haribo candy sorter project and it can not only sort, but tell you how many of each went down a tube. How random was the selection of flavors in a set? The counts can be manipulated to give the ratios and see if the selection was really random.....

    For the really senior among us, modify your reel to reel tape to have EOT/BOT on your favorite recordings.....
  • @frank freedman - would work great for the coop door sensors. I could also put them to use as a door chime sensor at work. Just mount on a little L-bracket tab at the top of the door facing and when the door passes - program a chime or ding. Would get a response as the door opens and closes.

    I'd buy a few for sure.
  • AwesomeCronkAwesomeCronk Posts: 925
    edited 2020-01-31 - 13:42:45
    If these aren’t super hampered by distance, perhaps they would make a good “laser trip wire” kit!
  • Sound like we are building a paper tap reader for are ASR33 teletype terminal. Both of which are obsolete.

    It probably goes with the Player Piano too.

    Mike
  • Finally bought a 3D-printer, and together with these sensors, I'd try to make a cat food dispenser. Basically our feline needs to put her paw on the sensor to get nutrition in her bowl.
    Version 2.0 would obviously be that the feline owner would put his hand on the sensor to get a cold drink from the fridge :smile:
  • banjo wrote: »
    Version 2.0 :smile:

  • Yes, A 3D printer makes working with odd devices much simpler.

    Mike
  • iseries wrote: »
    Sound like we are building a paper tap reader for are ASR33 teletype terminal. Both of which are obsolete.

    It probably goes with the Player Piano too.

    Mike

    Um, no, the ASR33 is not obsolete, neither is the Player Piano. Some amazing works were composed just for that instrument. And have not so recently emerged. The ASR33, and also the 43 are also in great use for the retro-computing enthusiast.
    --
    Mascot offers a yowl.
  • xanaduxanadu Posts: 3,298
    edited 2020-02-01 - 01:27:12
    There is/was a great learning experience along with their original purpose.

    It's awesome that the 360 servos have built-in encoders. I don't think external encoders should go away. A kit with the following would be pretty neat, IMO.

    H-Bridge
    Small DC motor
    Sharp sensors and resistors
    Printed encoder wheel

    Start with a single sensor tachometer. Work your way up to dual sensor quadrature closed loop feedback motor controller.


  • One more for the slot car types, an in-track lap counter. Or for the model railroaders, use to detect trains positions for switches or semphores/signal lights. Awesome ;) idea?
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,619
    Along the lines of PhiPi's music box suggestion, program a robot to move by coloring in areas on a moving paper, a grid or circular disk. Along the lines of OWI's Binary Player Robot.
  • One more for the slot car types, an in-track lap counter. Or for the model railroaders, use to detect trains positions for switches or semphores/signal lights. Awesome ;) idea?

    I'll go with the model railroaders one. In fact I've got an idea for a layout which would dwarf both the one that the gallery for the Museum of the NYCTA hosts every year, and even the one at the Botanical Garden in the Bronx has. But space is the limiting size of course.
  • That and funding, usually.
  • That and funding, usually.

    Well yes. But I did not, and am not going to announce what brand of trains I've got in mind.
  • The following e-mail is likely in your inbox:

    https://mailchi.mp/parallax/sharp-gp2a25j0000f-close-range-reflective-sensor-4-pack

    Thanks all!

    Ken Gracey
  • Ken Gracey wrote: »
    The following e-mail is likely in your inbox:

    https://mailchi.mp/parallax/sharp-gp2a25j0000f-close-range-reflective-sensor-4-pack

    Thanks all!

    Ken Gracey
    Got it. Thanks! I have a set on order.

  • Ken Gracey wrote: »
    The following e-mail is likely in your inbox:

    https://mailchi.mp/parallax/sharp-gp2a25j0000f-close-range-reflective-sensor-4-pack

    Thanks all!

    Ken Gracey

    Sweet package!
  • Ken Gracey wrote:
    The following e-mail is likely in your inbox:
    Yup. Two copies, in fact.

    -Phil
  • Ken,

    In the product description, I see the following: "At the right distance of .03" they'll also detect the difference between black and white" Should that be .3" ? Three hundreds of an inch seems "oh so small"...

    dgately
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